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David Montgomery, 47, and married with three children, was made redundant by an office supplies firm in the Midlands, following a takeover.
He had worked there for nearly three years, knew a lot about the business, and so decided to set up on his own.
This is his story.
From my relatively short experience, I knew that the margin of profit on most office supplies is greater than for just about any other product sold at retail, with profits on many items running as high as 300%.
I was also aware that most Office Supply companies are quite large concerns with consequently large overheads, which includes rent for attractive branches in expensive areas, wages for telephone and other office staff, commissions for the expensive representatives, delivery vehicles, etc.
Additionally, not many people appreciate that all the suppliers have two sets of prices for everything in their glossy free 300 plus page catalogues - one set in the free catalogue for their 'direct' customers, serviced by their own reps, and one (with no name on the cover, for independent agents) for which they charge around two dollars.
I operate entirely from home, using a cheaply shelved Talbot Express high roof van (they have more inside space than any other similar vehicle) which I have on a three year lease for just over $90 per week, including servicing.
Originally, my wife answered the telephone at home and took orders and enquiries whilst I was out delivery brochures to potential customers and requested items to existing customers, but I now have a smart vodaphone in the van, obtained by taking up one of the cheap offers in the National Press.
The rental is just $50 per calendar month, and as I rarely make outgoing calls, the 50 cents per minute cost of these is not a problem.
I do however make use of the rather clever 'call transfer' system, which automatically at the press of a couple of buttons, transfers any calls to me direct to my home telephone. This ensures that I don't miss any calls whatsoever; the small cost of this really does pay off as I need never miss a call, which is much appreciated by my customers.
In this way I have totally eliminated nearly all the overheads normally associated with this type of business.
Additionally, since I need no other assistants, there are no wages and so on to be paid. I have established a regular route of small offices and businesses in the area which I call on weekly, taking orders and making deliveries there and then of the faster selling items.
Other items are obtained usually the same day and because I have reduced the overheads to nothing more than the expenses of operating the van, I can undercut all my competitors by a wide margin.
Although anyone automatically gets at least 30 days to pay for the items, as I do from my suppliers, I also offer a straight 10% discount there and then for check on delivery.
An amazing 70% of the smaller customers are quite happy to do this - saving us both money!
I have had no problem in obtaining all the customers I can conveniently serve; you could do the same.
Start by looking in your local Yellow Pages under Office Supplies.
Nearly all the companies listed there will supply you with their catalogues with blank covers for your own name.
I'm now (after only 18 months), making a take home pay of an average $1800 + per month.